En 00b Liko

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    B. Liko Ovira Linda, 803 CE

    [00b] My dear heirs,

    For our beloved ancestors’ sake, and for the sake of our precious freedom, a thousand times I bid you — dearest —[1] never to let the eyes of a papist come upon these writings.[2] They utter sweet words, but they subtly distort all that concerns us Fryas. To gain rich endowments,[3] they collaborate with the puppet kings.[4] These know that we are their greatest enemies, because we dare speak to their people of freedom, justice, and the obligations of nobility. Thus, they make certain to obliterate all traces of our ancestral heritage and what is left of our morals.[5]

    My dear ones! I have visited their palace.[6] If Wralda allows, and if we fail to make ourselves strong, they will exterminate us all.

    Written in Liudwerd, year eight hundred and three in 'Kersten' understanding.

    Liko, surnamed Ovira Linda.

    Sandbach 1876

    [p.3 cont.] Beloved successors, for the sake of our dear forefathers, and of our dear liberty, I entreat you a thousand times never let the eye of a monk look on these writings. They are very insinuating, but they destroy in an underhand manner all that relates to us Frisians. In order to gain rich benefices, they conspire with foreign kings, who know that we are their greatest enemies, because we dare to speak to their people of liberty, rights, and the duties of princes. Therefore they seek to destroy all that we derive from our forefathers, and all that is left of our old customs.

    Ah, my beloved ones! I have visited their courts! If Wr-alda permits it, and we do not chew ourselves strong to resist, they will altogether exterminate us.

    Liko, surnamed Over de Linda.

    Written at Liudwert,

    Anno Domini 803.


    1. ‘Dear ... beloved ... precious ... dearest’ — in original all LJAWA/-E.
    2. ‘papist’ (PÁPE.KAPPE) — literally: ‘priest-cloak’, but perhaps used as an invective, reducing the subject to an external characteristic. Possibly ‘friend of the clergy’; see ‘keppe’ in Dictionary of the Dutch language (WNT).
    3. ‘endowments’ (PREBENDNE) — a ‘prebend’ is a stipend paid to a clergyman in the service of the Church.
    4. ‘puppet kings’ (POPPA KENINGGAR) — i.e., figureheads loyal to or controlled by hidden powers, like marionettes. The West-Frisian invective ‘poepe’ and even Dutch ‘poep’ (excrement) may have been derived from this use of the word.
    5. ‘morals’ (SÉDUM) — Dutch: ‘zeden’; SÉDUM or SÉDA also means ‘seeds’ (Dutch ‘zaden’).
    6. Rulers at the time would have been Hamacarus, bishop of Utrecht (only known by name), Charlemagne who subdued the Frisians after a three-year war (783-785), and Leo III, pope of Rome.

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